The Incredible Ordinary – WFP
In Early 2020, when Covid 19 was taking it’s grip on China, The World Food Programme (WFP) approached me to help out with videos to accompany a touring exhibition in France, Spain and Italy.
The Exhibition was called the “Incredible Ordinary” and it was about the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN), a multi-purpose cash transfer scheme providing monthly assistance through debit cards to over one and a half million of the most vulnerable refugees in Turkey. Those receiving assistance decide for themselves how to cover essential needs like rent, bills, food, and medicine.
The ESSN is the largest humanitarian aid programme ever funded by the European Union. Currently worth over one billion euros, it is funded under the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.
The films, mixing talking head interviews with WFP staff and simple animation – by the excellent Kris Genjin – talk about why cash handouts to refugees and internally displaced people make sense. Handouts are generic and in some way dehumanising, and also do not put cash back into the local community – who often resent the newcomers who cause disrupting to the status quo.
Cash transfers encourage contact with the local community and local businesses, and allow people who have been through terrible trauma to start to appreciate the small ordinary joys of choosing their own shopping. The Incredible Ordinary.